How About a Plenitude Resolution for the New Year?

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet Schor
Although entrepreneurship and micro-business have traditionally been seen as paths to wealth, the Doing What Matters business model is intended to lead toward a simpler, richer life. In the graphically illustrated five-minute video below, Plenitude author Juliet Schor discusses how to create a human-scale “plenitude economy” with increased time for family and community, and more joy in living.

What is plenitude? Here’s the Google dictionary definition:

Plenitude, n.

  1. An abundance.
  2. The condition of being full or complete.

In the video, and in her book,* Schor touches on four basic principles of plenitude:

  • Reclaim time: Work fewer hours in your outside job.
  • Self-provision: Make, grow, and do things for yourself.
  • Conscious consumption: Buy fewer things of enduring quality.
  • Refocus on community: Create strong family and neighborhood networks.

How do the plenitude principles work?

fruit-stand-new-mexico-1940-sm-loc

A 1940’s fruit stand at the Pie Town, New Mexico fair. Here’s an additional income stream for a farmer or anyone with a productive tree or two. What do you have to offer?

A microbusiness can give you the financial flexibility to work fewer hours in an outside job, which leaves more time for activities you may enjoy such as gardening, camping, sewing, volunteering, junking, interior design, hobby farming, crafting, fishing, baking, writing, and so forth. If you create your Doing What Matters business around one of the things you love, you’ll be spending your reclaimed time in way that fits you as no cubicle job ever could. Doing things yourself, conscious consumption, and the give and take of neighborhood networks reduces expenses, and lead to a more well-rounded and satisfying life.

Like Goldilocks, I believe in the concept of “just right.” I don’t need or want a business that is so large it swallows time and pushes out the people and and activities I love. I want a business that is not only interesting and fun for me, but also fits our family and creates something of lasting value for others. My goal has always been to create a plenitude life, earning what I need, doing what I love, right where I live now.

Like anything of value, creating the DWM life and business has been a learning experience.. Each year there has been growth, but there are also changes to respond to, new needs, new books, new conferences, new time wasters, and just more to do. Taking the time to stop at the end of each year and at mid-year to assess how things are going and re-balance has been a very helpful tool for keeping the “what matters” at the forefront of the business.

Doing what matters and making it pay is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but rather a principled way to create a full, satisfying life in the process of meeting your financial needs. No matter how you feel about Schor’s political perspective, the plenitude principles she espouses are the ones that many of our grandparents lived by. The video is well worth watching, and the principles are well worth considering.

True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans Are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy
*Schor’s thought-provoking book is heavily annotated and referenced–not difficult, but not exactly a light read. It was originally published under the title of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, but was retitled True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans Are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy after several other books with the Plenitude title were discovered. It’s available on Amazon.com at bargain price (click on the cover illustration to view it and read reviews).

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